CFRL: City Council passes motion to license rental units following a call for action from London ACORN
Posted March 8, 2021
Posted March 8, 2021
In a Community and Protective Services Committee meeting on March 2, London’s City Council passed a motion to license rental units in the city. The motion was submitted by Councillors Arielle Kayabaga and Mo Salih in early February but was only voted on last week. The motion was largely pushed by the work of London ACORN, a member-based organization focused on low to moderate-income people.
The motion would see a few changes to rental units and how they would be licensed, including:
- All new and existing rental units would be licensed regardless of the type of unit.
- Proactive inspection of existing units will be done randomly, in compliance with the already existing property standards by-law.
- An anonymous reporting hotline for tenants will be established.
London ACORN is a branch of ACORN Canada. They are a membership-based community which focuses on helping low to moderate-income people. The organization was started in 2004 and a London branch was established in October of this year.
Their focus right now is on London’s rental market, including standards of living and evictions. This motion is just one aspect of what they are trying to accomplish in London.
Sarah Henke is a personal support-worker and a member of ACORN. She and her husband became PSW’s when they lost their jobs early in the pandemic last year. She was served an eviction notice after going into arrears, but has since paid off her rent. She says that her case is not isolated at all:
“This is happening across London, across the province.”
London’s rental market is getting more and more volatile. Not only did properties lack licensing, but rental arrears are up as well. According to the CMHC’s most recent report, London is one of the leaders in rent arrears in Ontario. The number of rental units in arrears is only seconded to Toronto.
Henke says that ACORN has been incredible to work with. They have been helpful in her case with her building’s management company. She says that people should lobby their city councillors to see real change and relief for tenants.
Nawton Chiles, another member of London ACORN, is also encouraging people to join by visiting their website.
Article by Connor Luczka for CFRL